8.11.2018 - Comments Off on Women are the next big thing in tech! (Journal #8)

Women are the next big thing in tech! (Journal #8)

This is kind of an old story but it will give you a good perspective for the whole “let’s build a venture fund” idea and possibly lessons you can draw from it in case you’d ever decide to go down the venture capital route.

Short summary would be - about two years ago, soon after we actually established hDock42 and the whole European Launchpad idea, we’ve had came to a conclusion, which at that time was hidden to most people in Europe : “Women Are The Next Big Thing In Tech and Business”. It’s who and not what!

And yes, we could debate this till we drop, but it’s a simple fact. If you don’t see it yet, no worries, you will. It’s like gravity, you don't see it or think about it but if you try to understand how we live on Earth, you find out it’s here and it works.

Now let me tell you how we got to this belief; in the early days of hDock42 we’ve traveled extensively to visit different innovation communities across the world to see and feel the vibes, and to establish or re-establish connections and to find out how we could create or transfer those vibes to Europe. Yes, we were kind of obsessed with “how to get the Silicon Valley vibes to Europe”. I mean look, it kind of makes no sense, no one wants to live in Silicon Valley, because of its beauty and culture and history, we all went there because of people we can meet there and vibe (or atmosphere if you want) we find there. Wouldn’t it be much cooler if you could have the vibes, the people and drive to try and experiment in a place where people actually want to live? In a place which actually has culture, history, and streets you can walk on!

American influence

And as we’ve visited trade fairs, job fairs, innovation fairs, makers fairs, business and tech conferences, and startup summits. We loved them all but one trip has felt very special among them all. It was our trip to NYC, Boston, and Pittsburgh. Our main destination was annual EmTech (MIT Technology Review event) in Boston where we went to hear more about emerging technologies cooking in labs around the world.

It was completely unplanned but this whole trip was the first one, after many before, where we saw the female power in action…

  1. organizers of EmTech kept absolutely balanced the diversity on stage and it struck us as an amazing that at the two days conference focused on fields of deep science, robotics, and new materials, that’s even possible
  2. we got invited to Boston meetup community Tech-In-Motion running “Women Entrepreneurs” evening where we’ve seen ladies from 12 years old special ice-cream inventor to lady doctors running a healthcare apps for special-needs care and we’ve found out how city of Boston supports innovators and diversity for over a decade, including mayor himself.
  3. We’ve met amazing female creators at NYC Media Lab.
  4. and many more little instances where the combined presence of both genders has made us think, wow, they are a great team or it’s a great match these two, etc.

It was during this two weeks trip that we started to watch out for the signs of gender equality and the feeling started to grow into belief - that it’s more important who is involved than what is being done or where.

Let's try a venture fund

Then we looked around and thought, if we want to make an impact, we should be able to move female founders forward hence we should build a venture fund. But wait, if we are going to work on building a venture fund, it will be number 1001 in Europe, so we should really find some edge no one has. Could that edge be hard-focus on gender?

I mean everyone will tell you they have smart money, smart ass, great contacts, operational expertise, and…you name it. But very few VCs in Europe actually stand for something special; be it deep understanding of the industry and real hands-on experience like Passion Capital, or building a strong supporting community like Hardware Club. And so we decided (on a very high-level) to get the special edge by focusing on female founders across Europe.

And that was it. Our ideation start for the project to create a venture fund focused on female entrepreneurs. It did not have a name back then but we knew we want to focus on female founders or mixed founders teams across Europe because this can have a disproportionate impact and we won't be competing in a faceless crowd of VC funds. And yes, we thought that everyone will be as excited as we were about this unexploited niche focus. This was early 2017...

Well, we were heading in for a big big surprise…

 


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23.10.2018 - Comments Off on Going more hardware – first really physical project we’ve invested in (Journal No.7)

Going more hardware – first really physical project we’ve invested in (Journal No.7)

Today’s note is not a new thing for anyone who’s been around hDock42 from the start about two years ago. Yes, we've been around for almost two years and we are still trying to find our spot in the sun 🙂

The fact that we’re working is nicely illustrated by our projects which have their ups and downs. And that means they are pushing through and learning and we’re (hopefully) learning with them.

Today’s note is the first disclosure that we like hardware too! Not just computer hardware which is btw Petr’s thing - little tech toys, wearable gadgets, IoT devices, etc. Like aerospace stuff…

Another partner of ours, Michal, likes to fly airplanes. Not just small ones but also big ones, like B-737 ones.

We can’t buy Boeing just yet, but some time ago Michal liked the idea of a small team of industry veterans to transfer and upgrade a production of a small utility plane from the former Soviet Union to the Czech Republic. Such step would be a great start for further upgrades and for expansion into new product lines (understand - bigger planes) and this market is generally supply driven with long waitlists which means there's room to grow! The team behind OrbisAvia is living and breathing aviation and aerospace so we thought, let’s help them to get this thing off the ground.

We thought it would mean mainly helping them to organize their sales process efficiently, support their international sales and getting them ready and structured for future fundraising. They would need to do only one thing at first….guess what… sell, sell and sell.

And so we did invest and embarked on a journey with them to transform their hotch-potch operations of a group of enthusiasts to investable and stable airplane production site with future possibilities for growth and expansion.

What do you say, you like the first look of Praga Alfa? Praga Alfa airplane from Orbis Avia

Go check out a few of our own pictures on our Instagram feed and see you soon back here!

hD42 Team

 
 


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11.3.2017 - Comments Off on OpenToll – project we forgot to tell you about (Journal No. 6)

OpenToll – project we forgot to tell you about (Journal No. 6)

It's really not just for toll payments

For the past three months, we’ve been doing a lot of things in parallel and we failed in some of them. Regular communication with everyone outside our core team being the first obvious one. Not a complete failure but it’s hard to be satisfied when we are running about one month behind real things. For example, you have no idea that we started supporting our very first project about a month ago, that is very exciting to say the least. We took it to Berlin Tech Startup Fair to find new team members and accelerate product development and sales. We believe that for this product, Berlin is a great fit as the base for the team.

The project is called OpenToll and it’s a platform for upcoming smart-cars & smart-cities era.

OpenToll will automate all payments your car needs to make.

Now it’s You doing everything for your car - buying highway stickers, looking for points of sale for green stickers, registering for congestion charges or looking for cash to feed parking meters and imagine how these troubles or little annoyances multiply when you travel abroad, or worse when you travel across several countries. Given technologies available inside your car, it’s completely feasible to let the car do it all on your behalf. It’s not only possible but it would be sooooo much more convenient and driver or passenger friendly.

OpenToll is the platform which we are building to improve user experience as a driver. We also believe that such a platform is painfully needed, to allow for real usage based charging and smooth transition from your own cars to pool cars and later to autonomous vehicles.

We are aware that there’s a lot of political interests involved and we don’t plan to take anyone's job. Our aim is to provide everyone with easier, more convenient and a cheaper way of realizing and administering these payments Europe wide. We are all drivers or passengers after all. Let’s make our lives easier.

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Our goal at OpenToll is to provide a platform to completely automate toll payments, congestion charges, ecology taxes and other car usage related payments.
No more stickers, no more searching for point-of-sale.
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If you feel inspired and want to help this project to become a global force, reach our at "join (at) hdock42.com” and if you just feel interested in knowing more...sign-up for occasional project updates at http://OpenToll.com

It's projects like this one which will help us Make Europe Great Again! Will You Sign-In?

 


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3.12.2016 - Comments Off on How was Autumn Tech Startup Fair in Berlin? (Journal No. 5)

How was Autumn Tech Startup Fair in Berlin? (Journal No. 5)

Berlin is always good idea

Truth to be told, Berlin has been amazing to visit for the past ten years - if for fun or for Startup Fair. It’s the reason why we’ve chosen it as one of our three base camps (London - Berlin - Prague). It’s also no surprise that we were not disappointed with our last week’s visit.

hDock42 stand at Tech Startup Fair 2016 in Berlin at WeWork Sony Center locationIt was our last reunion this year and we brought our whole team and some guests to Berlin (except a colleague who just had a newborn the day before). We spent a day in a planning session for 2017. We used hospitality of new WeWork offices at Hackerscher Markt - simply cool and efficient. The evening we spent at Tech Startup Fair at Sony Center meeting people, making new friends and collecting CVs and the next day, Friday, some of us joined a group at Corrective to gain some insight into investigative journalism (you may think it’s not relevant but wait for it…)

Tech Meetups don't disappoint

We send our great thanks to the team at Tech Meetups. They did a great job of organizing and prepping everyone for the event - us, as exhibitors, as well as visitors - the young talented folks looking for new opportunities.

We all agreed that the talent we met in Berlin was amazing and connections still keep rolling in - THANK YOU ALL! What surprised us most positively was the diversity of talent in terms of nationalities and backgrounds. Berlin - ten points there.

On the other hand we’ve met less technical talent than we expected. Unfortunately, it happens to be usual observation anywhere we go. Our friends from the headhunting business tend to say it’s because strong tech talent does not go anywhere to look for opportunities, opportunities hunt them down without any effort on their part. Probably true and we see another great opportunity in this for Europe and we shall do something about it next year. Berlin - five points there.hDock42 Team in Berlin at Tech Startup Fair 2016 - rollups

But enough talking. We hope to have a small team based in Berlin very soon, working on cool projects. So for now enjoy some visuals...

Enjoy the Storify prepared by Tech Meetups team you'll find a few pretty good pictures there.

Or you can check out a few of our own pictures on our Instagram feed.

See you soon!

hD42 Team

 

17.11.2016 - Comments Off on Let’s Go – Tech Startup Fair Berlin Is Calling (Journal No. 4)

Let’s Go – Tech Startup Fair Berlin Is Calling (Journal No. 4)

We Are Going Berlin

All of us have visited our share of startup, tech and innovation focused events and there’re always some I myself am looking forward to; be it Pioneers in Vienna, EmTech in Boston, Future Fest in London, or Mind the Product (London or SF) because they are constantly getting better and better.

There are still many I’ve heard about being great and I have them on my To-Visit list. Next week I am going to tick one of those off with my colleagues in Berlin.

It has been several times I’ve heard that TechMeetups.com produce great events with energy across different geographic locations. Always wanted to go but it usually turned out that I was at different continent when things happened.

Anyway we finally made it and our planning allowed almost the whole team of hDock42 to gather next week in Berlin during Thursday and Friday and one of the things we will do is to visit Tech Startup Fair Berlin (Autumn 2016) at WeWork location at Sonny Center. Gorgeous location if you happen to know it there and if not, why don’t you come and say Hi!

It's an evening event, so you don't need free your schedule for a day or two. We will be there enjoying the energy, looking for inspiration, partners and supporters. We’ll also have a little stand as we are looking for new team members for ourselves and for one of our projects called OpenToll — car payments for this century.

If you want to know more about positions we have open, please visit our JOIN US pages.

See you in Berlin,

Petr

7.11.2016 - Comments Off on Where Do We See The Greatest Potential (Journal No. 3)

Where Do We See The Greatest Potential (Journal No. 3)

journal_poss

Simple answer is; we see potential EVERYWHERE! Europe is full of great research, ideas and is still at the top in many areas globally.

But looking around the globe and seeing major technology trends, we believe there’s potential to innovate everywhere; take high-level areas like healthcare, education, energy, transportation or government services and smart-cities.

Some of these are certainly areas where Europe has immense experience without many people realizing it. Our cities are smart, pretty good to live in, our healthcare is high quality. This gives us great base to build on. But high level look at our education or government services and you have the biggest areas for disruption. So disconnected from real people and technology trends. But don’t take our word for it, look around the world and then come and talk to us about your ideas.

Naturally at the start we are building on our previous business experiences and partner networks. From that perspective we are adding immediate value to teams working on technology application in the industries like: 

  • transportation — whether it’s public transport, automotive, aviation, aircraft manufacturing or cool space tech;
  • healthcare & pharma;
  • education & publishing;
  • communication & telco;
  • P2P finance & fintech;

We don’t look only on direct business opportunities. We carefully watch what’s cooking in academic circles and many times we will cooperate with academia on concrete projects. Many global opportunities in Europe-originated projects lie in building on well funded primary research projects.

We look for and want to build on primary expertise in areas like physics, math, behavioral science, AI, robotics, material science.

By building on expertise we mean supporting projects and individuals from applied research, across early idea development and search for product market fit to successful commercialization and global growth. Many of the great global businesses started at academia, let’s use this model too!

Now, one thing we haven’t stressed enough is that we believe in students and young people being in the forefront of our future success.

Our hD42Lab is the space created mainly from our experience with young innovators and ideas holders.

Many really good and sound ideas don’t cross the line into successful business world because of few miss-steps at the beginning. We are here to help and increase that success rate in cooperation with partners and universities. We’ll help you find a place for that idea of yours.

What do you think? Where is your strength and how will you help push Europe forward? Don’t forget, everyone counts and we want you as a member, a partner or a supporter. We are building on great partnerships from the past and we form new ones all the time. Every platform is fueled by its members, so if you are a student, open minded gal or guy, a research institutions, university, accelerator or investor. You may even be a business or corporation which believes in our vision then we are happy to have you on board…just reach out!

 


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6.11.2016 - Comments Off on Why We Say “Platform For Open Ideas” (Journal No. 2)

Why We Say “Platform For Open Ideas” (Journal No. 2)

journal_pose
We mentioned it before, we want hDock42 to become a catalyst helping to Make Europe Great Again! We also said we can’t do this alone so it appears that naturally hD42 must become a platform for generating, connecting and attracting :
  • crazy and bold ideas;
  • smart & active people;
  • open minded and active institutions or companies;

We mention “crazy ideas” intentionally because only those provide a path from promising R&D to projects with moonshot potential (yes, we stole this one from Google’s terminology).

New products need to be driven by imagination and not by user-group research.

We also mention “smart & active people” intentionally; there’s such a disconnect between time and place where ideas / people / business knowledge / technical knowledge sit.

There are many bright minds with great ideas in Europe, but how to take them into global business world? Vice-versa; there are many skilled folks who are looking for interesting ideas to work on because they feel they don’t have a breakthrough idea themselves. And if you combine both, then even better!

Whatever situation you find yourself at there’s a compelling reason to create place for open ideas sharing. Nothing re-creates the culture of joint success like open ideas sharing. Isn’t it ideal when people happily support someone else working on their idea rather than sitting on it and doing nothing! Of course, we are willing to chip in with our ideas first, no worries.

We want researchers talking to business people about spinning off their research projects, we want “to-be entrepreneurs” openly sharing their ideas and thinking so others can provide feedback and chip-in ideas, we want startups treating growth and profits as equal, we want profitable projects to think global expansion.

We want all of us to realize that it’s not about breakthrough idea from the lab, brainstorming session or from a shower. It’s not about your experience, it’s not even about funding — it’s first and foremost about finding out what your “product market fit” looks like and that fit must be global from the start! It’s about thinking global business from day one and having balls to push through to global success.

We are absolute believers that open sharing of ideas will bring in active people and will lead to natural formation of interest groups and successful teams adopting new ideas as their own and hopefully making them happen on global scale. By the way that’s what makes Silicon Valley so vibrant and cool place to be in.

via GIPHY

We are here to support such teams in “product market fit” validation and helping them find “smart financing” for global growth. Will you join us?

As we mentioned before, we wouldn’t want to and we can’t do this alone! Do any of these ideas resonate with you, want to join us or become our supporter (no worries, not asking for money here)?

Reach out to us (email, social networks, personal meeting…), help spread the word towards parties which might be interested in making Europe a business powerhouse again — individuals, communities, academic institutions, research institutes, corporations, public institutions and others.

And let’s get to work!

 


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11.8.2016 - Comments Off on Why Do We Do hD42 — Why To Start Again (Journal No. 1)

Why Do We Do hD42 — Why To Start Again (Journal No. 1)

journal_post

Short answer; we think some things are broken and we have a vision how to fix them. The vision is grandeur and yet so simple; We want to Make Europe Great Again! and we believe many of you do want the same thing.

Europe has history of entrepreneurial and research talent with global impact. Let’s just remember names like Tesla, Skoda, Einstein, Marie Curie, Bata, or more recent Tim Berners-Lee, Vichterle or Roman Stanek….great innovators with global impact.

But over the past decade or two Europe has been slowly losing its entrepreneurial spirit and almost resigned on global commercialization of it’s great research and ideas. Just go to any entrepreneurial event and listen to young people pitching their business ideas  —  just a few can use university know-how to create spin-offs, almost nobody thinks about going global first, very few think directly about crossing borders, hence almost non-existent startup unicorns, broken IPO market and overall relevance of high-tech companies based in Europe for global technology landscape. And if someone makes it through this, they sell to the first good looking bidder.

This is not acceptable for us! We want Europe to be again great place to innovate, start business, build global business and live. All that not only today but 50 or 100 years from now.

Our mission is to unlock commercial potential of European innovation so our kids would not feel it’s necessary to leave for Silicon Valley in case they want to successfully develop global idea. They can but it should not be a must. Europe shall not become place of only interesting history, old architecture and marginal innovation.

We cannot do it alone but we can catalyze the process and join forces with you! That’s why we are putting all of our previous business experience & successes on the starting line and we are establishing hDock42 as “a European launchpad for hot ideas which need safe Dock to grow and develop”. We call it launchpad because we see hDock42 more as an open platform to support above mentioned goals and vision, rather than just our company. It’s not just about our projects, our companies, our funding — it’s about uniting Europe wide ecosystem, about crossing boundaries, industries and areas of expertise.

As we just said, we will not do this alone. We will partner with You and other like-minded people, companies and institutions; count in research institutes, universities, startup accelerators, incubators, innovation communities, technology groups, public institutions and anyone who is willing to help us knock down barriers which prevent innovators and entrepreneurs from thinking and expanding globally. Let’s Make Europe Great Again!

Our ultimate goal is to make Europe net exporter of commercial successes. Global commercial success of European entrepreneurs and research means more capital and skills flows back into innovation projects, R&D and commercialization within Europe and that will be the moment when the innovation loop will start growing fueled by it’s own energy….

That’s when we will say; “Mission Accomplished” 🙂

 


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